Doctors, younger workers and ethnic minority staff are less likely to get a coronavirus vaccine, a new study has found.
Analysis of more than 19,000 healthcare workers (HCWs) at the University Hospitals of Leicester NHS Trust indicated that 64.5 per cent had received a Covid-19 vaccine.
According to the pre-print publication, which has not been peer-reviewed, doctors at the University Hospitals of Leicester trust had the lowest vaccination rate (57.4 per cent) among occupational groups, comparing to 62.5 per cent among nurses and healthcare assistants, and 73.2 per cent for those in administrative and executive roles.
Compared to white healthcare workers, (70.9 per cent), a significantly lower proportion of ethnic minority staff members had taken up a vaccine (South Asian 58.5 per cent and black 36.8 per cent).
The research also suggested that staff who had previously tested positive for Covid-19 were less likely to have taken up the offer of a vaccine. The study was co-authored by Dr Manish Pareek and GP Kamlesh Khunti, both professors at the University of Leicester.
Covering data from December to February, the publication noted: “Alongside ethnicity, we also found deprivation to be associated with Sars-CoV-2 vaccination uptake, with those living in the most deprived areas being most likely to be unvaccinated.
“Younger healthcare workers were also less likely to be vaccinated than their older colleagues; a likely explanation is a reduced perception of personal risk of adverse outcome from Covid-19.”
After adjustment, factors found to be negatively associated with vaccine uptake also included increasing deprivation.
Of those aged under 30, 51.7 per cent had been vaccinated, with the equivalent figure in the 31-40 age bracket being 57.6 per cent.
The authors said the study, published on medRxiv, had limitations, having data from a single centre, and comprising figures for vaccinations carried out through the Trust, rather than primary care centres.
The report stated: “HCWs who obtained vaccination through primary care will be coded as unvaccinated in our analysis, although we expect these numbers to be small given that few other vaccination centres were in operation prior to establishing vaccination hubs at UHL.
“We cannot predict if HCWs who are currently unvaccinated will take up vaccination in the future, however the numbers of staff taking up the vaccine over time are falling, implying that most who will accept vaccination have already done so.
“These findings have major implications for the delivery of Sars-CoV-2 vaccination programmes, in HCWs and the wider population and should inform the national vaccination programme to prevent the disparities of the pandemic from widening.”